The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has welcomed the appointment of Nari Nari man Rene Woods to the permanent Indigenous Authority Member board position.
Chair of the MDBA, Sir Angus Houston said he was delighted the position had been filled, which recognises the important role of First Nations in contributing to the management of water resources given their strong spiritual connection to water and longstanding moral obligation to care for it.
“This is a significant position of great importance to the work of the MDBA and to the voices of First Nations’ Peoples,” Sir Angus Houston said.
“It is vital that the voices of our First Nations are heard alongside the other important conversations and their views are actively considered when decisions are made about water management in the Basin.
“Mr Woods brings a breadth of knowledge, experience and relationships to the position. He will have a direct, meaningful and ongoing impact on the decisions of the MDBA in his role as Indigenous Member, providing a voice for First Nations communities across the Basin.”
Chief Executive of the MDBA, Phillip Glyde said the appointment means that First Nations’ needs and concerns relating to the Basin can be incorporated at the highest level.
“There is so much still to be learnt about how best to manage and share water, and how to incorporate this knowledge into decisions on the management of the precious Basin resources,” Mr Glyde said.
“Mr Woods will play an integral role in deepening the understanding of First Nations issues in the Basin and will have a direct input into decision making.
“We look forward to working closely with Mr Woods as a key member of the Authority.”
Mr Woods is a Nari Nari man from Hay in south-west New South Wales. He has been involved with the management of Aboriginal culture, heritage and natural resources for many years, and is currently working as a conservation officer with Nature Conservancy Australia.
Mr Woods works with communities on the ground to promote awareness of Aboriginal culture and heritage, water issues, and getting local communities back on Country and involved in water management.
He previously held the position of chairperson of the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations. He has also been vice-chair of the Nari Nari Tribal Council.
The new position was made possible following the passing of The Water Amendment (Indigenous Authority Member) Bill 2019 which established it as a permanent position on the board. This increases the board from six to seven members.